Monday, February 20, 2012

Life before motherhood

Recently I posted some old pictures from the days when I worked at 98 ROCK in Baltimore. It was many, many years ago (the mid-80's) and it was a part of my life before motherhood. 

One of my daughters saw the pictures and suggested I post on my blog about those days.  I thought it could be fun to do.  I have to confess I have already started a couple of times to write about it before this post, but I erased them.  No, nothing was scandalous and I wasn't afraid to let out my secrets of the past.  Sorry daughters. In fact, far from it!   Thankfully, I can say everything I did was "above board" and in that business back then there were temptations around. 

In fact, I think the blog posts I erased were too boring!  I started out by writing about my first job with WBAL-AM in the news department. I wrote about learning to write radio "copy" and public service announcements.  Boring, right?  I wrote about acting as a producer for evening talk shows, and the workings of a radio station.  Yawn.

So, for my daughter, I'm skipping right to my job as the Promotions Manager for the FM station, 98 ROCK, WIYY in Baltimore.  I was about 23 or 24 years old when I got the job and I thought I was pretty hot stuff. I was responsible for on-air contests and give-aways, and for station promotions at fairs and concerts that came to town.   Exciting, huh?  Yes - it was!  I got the opportunity to meet most of the performers of the rock world at that time (remember it was the 80' hard rock was big, and some glam rock and country rock was around too). It was the time of "Album Oriented Rock" (AOR) and yes, we still played the music on long playing discs - remember those black vinyl things? 

As the Promotions Manager I had the regional record company representatives contact me often and ask to help push their artists and their new music.  I would often get boxes of albums, of t-shirts, special merchandise, and concert tickets to use for giving away on the air to listeners in various contests. I had a"prize room" full of all of these goods.  I was keeper of that key! 

Sometimes I was contacted by the concert producers too.  They wanted our station to be connected to rock shows that were coming into town.  I would schedule our DJ's (disc jockeys - another old term) to come on stage and welcome the crowd and to bring on the band.  Most times I went along.  I made sure the right sponsor was thanked, and that the DJ knew what to say.  I had backstage access to most concerts. 

I also took care of all the station merchandise.  98 ROCK t-shirts and bumper stickers.  We had a "98 ROCK Air Force" club for listeners.  Each member got a pair of black plastic wings. We sent them special newsletters and other promotional material.  Remember this all happened way before emailing, or social medias - no Facebook!   We signed people up at fairs and festivals.  Baltimore had alot of thnic festivals in the summer.  The state fair happened in Baltimore. The Preakness in May.  I drove the 98 ROCK van everywhere, to all the events. 

Are you figuring out this was NOT a 9:00 to 5:00 job???   Really, looking back on those days, being a promotion manager was for the young! I lived it! Some of my days started at 9:00am for the normal business meetings and regular work at the station, but promotions often took place at night and on weekends.

Here are some of my "highlights" of that time:   I met Jackson Browne (yes, briefly - but it was a BIG deal to me) backstage at his concert, I went to MANY MANY concerts. I'll try to remember some:  the Rolling Stones, Heart, Neil Young, Elton John, the WHO, Rick Springfrield, Triumph, Golden Earring, Robert Palmer, 3 Dog Night, America, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Squier, the Stray Cats,  AC/DC, the Doobie Brothers, the Eurythamics, David Bowie, Pat Benatar, Peter Frampton, Joan Jett, Asia...    You know what?  I know I saw lots of "heavy metal" bands but they all ran together to me.  Looked alike, sounded alike. 

Another "highlight" was going to a conference in Orlando for acouple of days.  The band Loverboy performed for us there. 

Here's something funny: I remember so well that Ozzy Osbourne came in to the station one day for an on air interview.  (We had musicians come in often per-concert for an interview.) Ozzy was big at the time - he had just bitten the head off the bird.  Really!  Anyway, while he was in the studio, his manager - who was his wife - was making phone calls in the next office over from me.  Who was she?  A VERY frumpy British woman named Sharon.   Who knew she would get lipo-ed and tucked, and pulled, and become the lady we see on TV now!

Once we had the band KISS come by the studio.  Yes, in makeup.   Crowds gathered outside to see them.

At one point we had a major contest and gave away a brand new Mazda.  That was pretty cool. 

We put out a few 98 ROCK albums featuring local bands and 98 ROCK calendars.

We worked with the clothes store "Merry Go Round" and had 98 ROCK jeans, black satin jackets, shirts, etc. for sale there.

Sometimes this all seems like a life ago...and I guess it practically was.  But, sometimes it seems like yesterday.  It's amazing that some of those bands are still around! I have been fortunate to reconnect with some of my friends & co-workers from my radio days lately, thanks to Facebook.  That's why I brought out the old pictures.   It's fun to "share" and remember.  Yes, I had a life before motherhood. 

1 comment:

  1. Well this was fun to read : ) Meeting Jackson Browne would have been a big deal to me too!

    We have some geographical connections besides NJ-we lived in Severna Park for nine years and I saw on FB you had an Ohio tie as well. My oldest was born in Columbus.